Lufthansa says it has made “further concessions” to the European Commission on its attempt to acquire parts of Air Berlin, relinquishing its purchase offer for Niki.

The airline agreed a deal to purchase Air Berlin’s subsidiary Niki, the LG Walter regional carrier and 20 other aircraft, but EU regulators raised some concerns over the market share Lufthansa would have after the deal was finalised.

Lufthansa had already agreed to give up a number of slots to satisfy the commission, but has now said it will cease its agreement to acquire Niki in order to obtain merger clearance.

The airline group says it had already transferred a share of the agreed Niki purchase price as “bridge financing”, and any unpaid price components will be used “for organic expansion into Niki’s markets.” Lufthansa claims extra capacity in those markets would provide an economically comparable result.

According to Reuters, former racecar driver Niki Lauda, who founded Niki, may still be interested in buying the airline back.

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